Furniture, Art, and More Once Owned by Lord Snowdon Are on the Auction Block


Christie’s London has an exciting estate on its sales lineup. As of this past weekend, the auction house is offering the collection of the late Lord Snowdon. Born Anthony Armstrong-Jones, the Englishman married Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth II’s sister, in 1960, and became a celebrated portrait photographer in his own right. However, the Christie’s auction, titled “Snowdon: A Life in Art and Objects,” transcends his photography—painting a picture of the late Snowdon as someone who lived among a range of intimate objects: from pieces inherited from his uncle, the legendary set designer Oliver Messel, to gifts from friends and subjects the world over, to furniture he personally designed. (English and European furniture, silver, porcelain, old master drawings, Chinese art, modern British art, and of course photography are all represented in the sale.) They are objects that Snowdon, who died in 2017, lived with in his own celebrated family homes, which were photographed for Vogue and The World and Interiors.

“Snowdon was revolutionary as a photographer,” says Benedict Winter, a decorative arts specialist at Christie’s. “He was interested in people and traditional portraiture but also about capturing moments in time, whether it was a street scene in London or ordinary people he came across.” Early in his career, Snowdon was commissioned for many theatrical portraits, thanks in part to Messel’s introductions and support. He later photographed for advertisements and magazines, becoming the artistic adviser of The Sunday Times Magazine in the early 1960s. Today, he is perhaps best known for photographing some of the biggest names on the global social scene—including David Bowie, Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Grace of Monaco, and David Hockney.

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